Camping: Not for Sissies

  Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

LaverneA friend in California wrote to me extolling the delights of camping. She went on to proudly describe her ingenuity in preparing a dozen ice cream filled cones, packing them with dry ice and finding them frozen and in tact several hours later when she arrived at her designated camp site and served them to her grandchildren. I admit to being impressed with her resourcefulness but I’m also bewildered as to her reason for doing such a thing when  ice cream could easily have been served to her in a bug-free, air conditioned ice cream parlor.

 I confess. I’m not into camping. What I love is the idea of camping. Being outdoors under wide open skies, drawing in all that wonderful fresh air and listening to nature’s sweet consort, certainly sounds heavenly, but I’ve had to face the reality that I’m too much of a prima donna to accept everything that goes along with those amenities. Things like ruining my manicure while pitching a tent, trading in perfume for smelly bug spray, sleeping on cold hard ground, trudging half a mile to pee, and searching for an electrical outlet for my curling iron are not on my list of Favorite Things To Do.

 I did it once. I couldn’t wait to go. En-route to the camp site a bird flew into our car grill and remained there for the entire three hour trip. I imagine he got tired of flying and wanted someone to drive him to his destination. Obviously he hadn’t thought the whole thing through because while he certainly did arrive without flying he arrived in a messy compressed state.

 And then it poured and poured and poured. I sympathized with what Noah must have had to contend with. Here I was in this confined area with one wet foul smelling dog, two tent leaks, three irritable tent mates, and an infinite number of elusive mosquitos.

 I wanted to sleep in a comfy nightgown but my seasoned camper friends laughed hysterically at that idea and pointed out what a wimp I was. They opted to sleep in sopping wet jeans and I, being totally intimidated, followed suit and was miserable.

 Well, actually, I only thought I was miserable. Real misery didn’t rear its ugly head until the wee hours of the night when I found myself wandering blindly through the frightening darkness, in a torrential storm, in search of some godforsaken Public Pee House.

 The next morning our little makeshift chairs sank into four inches of mud as we attempted to burn wet kindling and create a flame hot enough to solidify egg whites and kill at least some of the trichinosis in our bacon. 

 I learned something about myself that weekend:  I’m too old to have to put up with  unnecessary inconveniences. My favorite sleep-away adventure must include four walls in a five star hotel. I still love nature but I discovered it’s best viewed from hotel and cruise ship balconies.

Other posts by this author:

Don’t Count Me Out

Aging, Not All Fun and Games

Challenging My Legacy

Behind Closed Doors

Battle of the Bulge

How the Home Shopping Network Turned Me into a Zebra

Open at Your Own Risk

Up, Up and Away – Or Not


About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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